Debbie Mendieta emigrated to Spain with her three daughters in August of 2019, tired of the siege and threats by supporters of the Sandinista party in the city of Carazo, Nicaragua.
«The decision to emigrate and request exile was the most drastic decision I have ever made, I left behind my house and my job for the safety of my family,» said Mendieta, one of the 20 Nicaraguan exiles who received financial aid from the Nicaraguans For Security and Prosperity Foundation, based in the United States.
The Nicaraguan exile narrated that, in her country, anyone who sympathizes with the ruling party, denounces you only for being an opponent or for having participated in the protests.
«They entered my house, they tried to rape me, I was alone and at the same time they were detaining my daughter at the university, after that I said that I was not going to wait another minute and we traveled to Spain,» said Mendieta.
“I am very happy that the foundation is supporting the exiles, the fact that they listen to us and that we can vent, express our disagreement regarding what is happening in Nicaragua, something that we could not do there [in Nicaragua]. I feel better, and I hope they continue to support Nicaraguan exiles,” said Mendieta, a single mother who migrated five months ago with her three daughters, ages 8, 10 and 19.
She joined her daughter in the protests. According to Mendieta, she supported the anti-government protests because her 19-year-old daughter, who was a university student, joined the protests that originated after April 18, 2018. “It is difficult to survive in exile, especially because we lack work, we have difficulties with renting a flat, we left Nicaragua to start again, but we have not started yet,” said Mendieta, 40, who lives in Zaragoza and hopes that soon the immigration authorities will grant her a work permit.
On February 12 at a restaurant in the city of Zaragoza, Spain, 20 families benefited from the financial aid from Rafael Estrada, president of the Foundation. Rafael Estrada, president of the Nicaraguans for Security and Prosperity Foundation, stated that in addition to having provided financial aid to exiled families, he was able to learn about the economic needs they are experiencing, as well as their concern about not having the necessary documents to get a job.
Estrada, who has shown his concern for the needs of Nicaraguan exiles, explained that the beneficiaries were selected because they made the foundation aware that they are experiencing serious needs. They received 100 euros in February and they will recieve the same amount in March. It has been planned that the Foundation will expand aid to another 20 families.
«We want to make clear that in Nicaragua, crimes against the people continue to be committed under the guidance of the dictator Daniel Ortega and we demand justice and free and fair elections, and we also ask that the international community will continue to denounce the abuses that are being committed,» said Estrada.
Crisis and siege caused the exile
Marvin Marenco fled Nicaragua on March 27, 2019 due to the economic situation and tired of the siege by the Ortega Regime for being an opponent of the government.
«We are grateful, we welcome the help that the foundation is giving us, because with that help they have lessened the economic difficulties that we are going through in this country. Being in a foreign country is very difficult, but we are aware that we are going to get ahead, ”said Marenco, 36, originally from the Nicaraguan capital.
Marenco acknowledged that in Managua he had a stable situation. He had a job and managed to meet the needs of his family. «Of the almost 10 months that I have lived in Zaragoza, I have managed to work only 2 months.» Marenco added with the financial support of his wife who works as a caregiver for the elderly, they have «managed to meet their needs as an exile,» Marenco highlighted.
Another exile who lives in Zaragoza and who has benefited from the help of the American foundation is Remberto Reyes. Reyes remarks that his wife and daughter were in danger in the city of Chinandega due to the persecution and threats of loyal para-police force. Having participated in the protests because his family disagreed with the laws approved by the government, Reyes and his family have been identified as opponents to the Ortega dictatorship.
“An armed man on a bicycle followed me, he came to the neighborhood where I lived in Chinandega. I felt terrified that my life was in danger and that’s why I decided to emigrate in October 2018. I went through a very difficult situation as an exile because I had to start again», said Reyes, 37 years old.
«This is the first time that I have recieved aid here in Spain. I thank the foundation for its financial aid. I am going to invest it by paying the rent for the apartment where I live,» said Reyes, who mentioned that he is hopeful to return to Nicaragua when there is a change of government that guarantees stability and security.
Defense of Human Rights
The United States-based Nicaraguans for Security and Prosperity Nonprofit Foundation has, as its main objective, the defense of the human rights of Nicaraguans, economic aid, grants for self-sustaining projects, and the promotion of democratization.
According to collected statistics, Spain has a community of Nicaraguan emigrants of 35,640; 9,300 reside in Zaragoza. In 2018 alone, more than 500 Nicaraguans applied for international protection in the European country.
According to Rafael Estrada, his work has also been carried out in Costa Rica and Panama. “We have financially supported more than 100 families who are in the process of obtaining political asylum. In some cases the foundation has subsidized families who are truly in need with self-sustaining projects. At the beginning of this school year in Costa Rica, 100 families will benefit from uniforms for their children, and in Nicaragua 100 families will benefit from school supplies for children. As promoters and facilitators we reiterate our appreciation for the support and contributions of our collaborators that make it possible for our objectives to be met and continue our effort on behalf of Nicaraguans,» he said.
After the socio-political crisis that occurred in Nicaragua in April 2018, thousands of Nicaraguans who were oppressed and threatened with death were forced into exile in other countries in Central America, South America, the United States, and European countries.